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Posts Tagged ‘Michel Qissi’

Breakin’

Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

I’ve written about a bunch of these corny 21st century dance movies, and I always seem to be comparing them to the BREAKIN’ movies, but I’ve never actually reviewed the BREAKIN’ movies. That ends now. I’m reviewing the BREAKIN’ movies. The world could use more focus on the BREAKIN’ movies right now.

In a certain way, BREAKIN’ changed the whole world for me. I’m pretty sure it was BREAKIN’ and/or the cultural conversation around BREAKIN’ that first opened my eyes to this movement of music, art and dancing that older, cooler kids in far away New York had been building for several years. If you weren’t alive then I’m not sure you can imagine what a phenomenon it was. I remember a music teacher giving us diagrams of moves, trying to teach us (what she said was) the moonwalk, talking about Michael Jackson being inspired by breakdancers and breakdancers being inspired by James Brown. It was the music part of hip hop culture that would become important to me, and (as I said in my review of the companion movie RAPPIN’), at that time I don’t think I even knew the word “rap.” I called it “breakdancing music.” (And, though I kind of like this soundtrack, I don’t associate it much with the type of rap I soon fell in love with.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Kickboxer (and the conclusion of The Last Summer of ’80s Action)

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019

As with LETHAL WEAPON 2 and ROAD HOUSE, KICKBOXER is a classic that I’ve already reviewed, and I stand by what I wrote about it the first time. But I thought it might be worth revisiting 11 years later, after also writing about its sequels, remake and remake sequel, and in the context of these other ’89 movies. It hit some European countries in April and August of that year, and the U.S. on September 8th, making it a good closer to THE LAST SUMMER OF ’80S ACTION.

Earlier in the series we had fighting circuit movies from an old Disney live action director (FIST FIGHTER), the World Wrestling Federation (NO HOLDS BARRED), and a guy that did Dorf movies (CAGE). Not surprisingly it was Cannon Films that gave us the season’s slickest version of the form, building off the success of BLOODSPORT (1988) for an in my opinion even better vehicle for shiny new splits-doer Jean-Claude Van Damme. I mean that literally, by the way – in the climax the camera really focuses on the reflectiveness of his muscles as an illustration of how ready he is to triumph. (read the rest of this shit…)

Terminator Woman

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

tn_terminatorwomanAfter the disappointment of TERMINATOR SALVATION the last thing we need is another movie that fails to live up to James Cameron’s original creation. But here is TERMINATOR WOMAN, which not only lacks the punch of Cameron’s two sci-fi action classics, but also fails to communicate to the viewer (in this case me) why the hell it’s called TERMINATOR WOMAN. The cover says “It’s about time!” as if to suggest it’s exciting to have a woman Terminator (before TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES), but the movie isn’t even remotely about robots or even terminating, and there’s also a man in the movie who fights on what is portrayed as an approximately equal skill level with the woman. So if she counts as a Terminator then he must too. I’m not sure why it’s not TERMINATOR MAN AND WOMAN.

TERMINATOR WOMAN is about two American karate cops in Africa fighting some crime lord who wants to get back some gold that was stolen from him. But the crime lord is not Warwick Davis, it’s Michel Qissi, also director, co-writer, fight choreographer and fight editor.

If you don’t know Qissi you at least know his friend: he grew up with and trained with Jean-Claude Van Damme. Onscreen he most memorably played Tong Po, the villain in KICKBOXER, although he was uncredited (it said Tong Po played himself). But here is his first try at directing (he did one other, 2001’s EXTREME FORCE). (read the rest of this shit…)